Quality Assurance and Enhancement

The Quality Assurance and Enhancement Service (QAE) provides a focus within the University for the development and implementation of academic quality assurance and enhancement activity, with a specific remit to oversee all provision detailed in the Quality Manual and the Partnerships Manual.

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Degree Outcomes Statement

In response to the Statement of Intent produced by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment the University has analysed our data on the proportions of degree classifications we award. The outcome can be found in our Degree Outcomes Statement that was approved by the University’s Board of Governors in July 2020.

The Quality Manual outlines the policies and procedures concerned with the management of taught courses leading to awards made by the University of South Wales (USW). It applies equally to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) and covers all provision carrying USW credit at level 3 and above in the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW). 

The Quality Assurance framework for 2020-21 has been updated to assure and maintain the quality and standards of our student experience in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An overview of changes is available in the appendix of the Quality Manual. The framework has been designed following a review of QAA Guidance released in May 2020 (and other sector sources), as well as in conjunction with the USW DEAL Framework. The main aim is to ensure our ability to assure the quality and standards of the student experience we provide is robust yet proportional to the requirements the current situation places upon us.

The Partnerships Manual sets out the definitions, processes and policies for the operation of the University’s1 provision with others. It covers all arrangements where the University works in partnership with other organisations to design and/or deliver courses and/or to award qualifications. It should be read in conjunction with the Quality Manual which sets out the University’s overarching approach to its quality framework.

The University has collaborative arrangements with partner organisations both within the UK and overseas. Responsibility for academic standards and quality assurance remain with the University. Many of the standard quality processes (for example: continuous monitoring; course approval and review and the use of External Examiners) outlined in the Quality Manual apply equally to collaborative provision.

Procedures for Placements and Work-based Learning

Regulations for Taught Courses

Exceptional Arrangements Regulations and No Detriment Approach 

The No Detriment Approach 2020/21 was approved at Academic Board on February 10th 2021. It was informed by the QAA guidance on maintaining quality and academic standards, best practice identified by the Academic Registrars Council and a review of other institutions’ practice and was endorsed by our Quality Assurance Committee.

In arriving at the approach, consideration had been given to the fact that the situation in 2020/21 is substantially different to that of the emergency force majeure situation in 2019/20. There had been time to plan, prepare and make adjustments to learning, teaching and assessment for 2020/21. Notwithstanding the measures that had been taken, the University recognised that students continued to be impacted by the pandemic and as such, it was important to ensure that steps were taken to reassure students that their outcomes would be protected.

Whilst the approach was different to what was applied in the 2019/20 academic year, it was comprehensive and complemented existing changes that had already been introduced to enable learning, teaching and assessments to remain as flexible as possible, whilst ensuring that academic standards and integrity remained in place.

For this academic year (2021/22), standard regulations and procedures will apply, although the University is committed to reviewing the impact of the pandemic on students and consider whether to re-introduce a No Detriment Approach prior to Assessment Boards for 2021-22. 

For USW students who have commenced their studies since September 2013.  Links to previous versions of the Regulations for Taught Courses can also be found following the link above.


The University is responsible for the standard of awards made in its name and for ensuring that the courses are set at the right standard from the outset. The purpose of the course approval process is to ensure that the proposed course offers a coherent course structure which is appropriate to the name of the course, the level of the course within the national qualifications framework and the subject to be validated, including any relevant QAA subject benchmarks. It also ensures that the requirements for students to achieve the learning outcomes are clear, that there are appropriate learning and teaching methods and that the assessment is designed to test the learning outcomes. These procedures have been written for all those involved in the development of new taught courses.


Members of staff should visit the relevant Faculty Quality Assurance and Enhancement Sharepoint sites for forms and guidance on processes including initial course proposal, validation and revalidation, modifications and closures.

Faculty Quality Assurance and Enhancement Sharepoint sites can be found in the following links:

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science

Faculty of Creative Industries

Faculty of Life Sciences and Education

The University of South Wales is committed to providing high quality, comprehensive and accessible education for its students via a range of courses.

The University operates a two tier assessment system with a Course External Examiner whose responsibilities will span their professional subject knowledge and their expertise as an academic in the operation of courses. The two tiers are subject assessment boards which consider module performance and award and progression assessment boards which consider the overall performance of the student.  Additional information regarding your role, payments, reports can be found on the External Examiner site.

The University defines a partnership as any arrangement in which the University makes an award or gives credit towards an award on the basis of education provided by, with or at another organisation in the UK or overseas.

Additional information regarding our collaborative partners, Link Officers or Recognised Teacher Status can be found on the Partnerships site.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process that allows education providers to recognise prior certificated learning and experiential learning to gain academic credit to enhance their learning journey or career prospects. Additional information can be found in the Regulations for Taught Courses.   

An RPL application consists of the following steps:  

1.    Expression of interest (this should be done early, at application if possible)

2.    RPL Application  

3.   Application/Enrolment onto a course/module

4.   Submission and Assessment

5.   Notification of credit awarded  

It should be noted that until assessment and notification of credit awarded, applicants may not meet all the requirements for RPL and may need to study modules where RPL has not been awarded. Awarded credit through the RPL process may also impact funding eligibility, so consultation with Student Money and/or funding sources should be considered.